SA set to maintain its IMO STCW Convention ‘Whitelist’ status: SAMSA

DSC_5249.JPGPretoria: 09 September 2019

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has once again given an assurance that South Africa will retain its status in the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) STCW Convention ‘Whitelist’.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting CEO. SAMSA

The assurance was given by SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi while addressing a gathering of members of the South African Institute of Marine Engineers and Naval Architects (SAIMENA) in Cape Town on Friday afternoon.

He’d been invited to specifically come and address the organisation’s members on the status of the country regarding the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW Convention) since the near fall-out earlier this year after close on two thirds of IMO Member States on the list reportedly faced removal.

The incident in April 2019 sparked fears and concerns among seafarers, shipping sector and related marine and maritime professionals across many countries, including South Africa as it reportedly risked among other things, a massive loss of jobs and likely manning challenges in the shipping transport sector.

This was averted after the IMO soon corrected the situation following to a meeting with members States. South Africa, one of 129 countries listed, had been on the IMO STCW Convention ‘Whitelist’ since 2001.

DSC_5252On Friday, for about half an hour during lunchtime, Mr Tilayi outlined the genesis of the challenge with regards South Africa and outlined steps that were being taken currently to ensure that the country meets its periodic review obligations to the IMO’s STCW Convention on time for the next submission due in 2020.

Throughout the process, Mr Tilayi said the maritime sector would be constantly updated and occasional involved directly for its contribution to matters such as reviews of legislation and related.

DSC_5253While about it, Mr Tilayi also touched on various other topics related, inclusive of the current repositioning of SAMSA as a central professional maritime administrator instrumental to the development of South Africa as maritime centre of excellence by 2030 in line with the country’s National Development Plan.

He also touched briefly on the country’s need for higher preparedness to exploit new investment opportunities being identified, similar to the burgeoning shipping bunkering services in Port Elizabeth (a.k.a Nelson Mandela Bay) on the southern east coast of South Africa.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (27 minutes), click on the video below.

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South Africa’s leadership in fishers’ safety and security lauded: South East Asian countries

DSC_4428.JPGCape Town: 04 September 2019

Over five days, from 26-30 August 2019, about three dozen delegates from three South East Asian countries – Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand – rubbed shoulders and closely interacted with their South African counterparts in the Western Cape, exchanging notes on the implementation of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 188.

On their departure from South Africa at the weekend, the delegates – among them senior government officials at ministerial and director level, as well as ILO officials, were more than impressed.

In their own words, captured in the following video interviews, not only did they learn much of what they hoped for about the implementation of the ILO’s C188, but they also felt that South Africa’s leadership in the regard, and partnership going forward, were crucial in the success of their own endeavours to ensure the implementation of the instrument in their own countries to ensure the safety and security of their fishing sectors’ labour.

DSC_4448.JPGILO officials, who accompanied the delegates both during a two day workshop in Cape Town on Monday and Tuesday, as well as during actual fishing vessels inspections in Cape Town, Saldanha Bay and St Helena Bay on the west coast of South Africa, led by South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) officials headed by Mr Selywn Bailey, were no less impressed.

DSC_4557.JPGSpoken to by this blog in the video interviews featured below,  (in no particular order) were

  1. Mr Basilio Araujo, Assistant Deputy Minister, Indonesia’s Office of the Deputy Coordinating Minister for Maritime Sovereignty and Resilience, Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs;
  2. Mr Indra Setiawan, Head of Facilities and Infrastructure Section at Indonesia’s  Directorate of Manpower Law Compliance, Directorate General of Inspection, Ministry of Manpower;
  3. Ms Mi Zhou, Project Manager of the ILO’s Indonesia Sea Fisheries Project;
  4. Ms Ma.Teresita S. Cucueco,  the Phillipines director of Bureau of Working Conditions in the Department of Labour and Employment.
  5. Mr Somboon Trisilanunt, deputy Director-General in Thailand’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare (DLPW), Ministry of Labour and
  6. Rear-Admiral Apichai Sompolgrunk, Director -General at Thailand’s Office of Maritime Security Affairs, Naval Operations Dept., Royal Thai Navy/ Command Centre to Combat Illegal Fishing (CCCIF).

Take a listen:

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South Africa called upon to increase support for Indian Ocean rim countries’ port State controls.

DSC_2913Cape Town: 21 August 2019

South Africa has been called upon to step up and increase its regional support of Indian Ocean rim countries in order to improve the general standard and level of control measures in place to maintain safety and security of the regions’ oceans.

The call has been issued by the chairperson of the 20-member States Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU), Ms Beatrice Nyamoita in an interview on the sidelines of the organisation’s Port State Control Committee meeting currently taking place in Cape Town over five days since Monday this week.

DSC_3041IOMOU member States represented include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Eritrea, France (La Reunion), India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen.

Also present are delegates from other observer States and organisation with similar status as the IOMOU.

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Ms Beatrice Nyamoita, Chairperson of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU)

The IOMOU on Port State Control has its main function the establishment and maintenance of a harmonised system of port State Controls as envisaged in various instruments under the directive of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and similar such institutions. 

The port State control system, according to the IOMOU ‘aims to verify whether foreign flagged vessels calling at a port of a State comply with applicable international maritime conventions.’

There are no less than 12 of such IMO and related institutions’ conventions and protocols that inform the IOMOU’s port State control activities across the region.

In Cape Town on Tuesday, Ms Nyamoita said while the IOMOU block had made several achievements over the past two decades to both enrol as many Indian Ocean countries into the fold of the IOMOU, and to harmonise adoption of instruments for group of countries activities in promoting and maintaining safety and security of the region’s ocean area by preventing entry of substandard vessels into the region’s sea waters, sufficient capacity remained the major challenge.

She said because of the nature of the training programme required for inspection officers in member States, particularly the long duration and costs involved, many of the countries were unable to develop an adequate number of personnel sufficiently skilled to carry out necessary vessel inspections and surveys.

‘We have managed to ensure the development of standard procedures across the region intended to harmonise and establish uniformity of activity aimed at enhancing safety and securing of people and ships in our our respective ocean spaces. However, the greatest challenge currently facing IOMOU member States with regards port State control is capacity,” she said.

“Most of the member States cannot afford to train enough people. The training takes too long and governments budgets do not give priority to training people for port State control.

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She said currently, the IOMOU relied on support from other MOU organisations across the world, but this was just not enough for development of a cadre of skilled officials required by countries in the region in order to meet their obligations.

Ms Nyamoita said South Africa on the other hand, however, had certain advantages that would be beneficial to the organisation, such as vast experience in maritime matters, as well possessing infrastructure in terms of its relatively higher number of ports in which to conduct vessel inspection. The vast ports infrastructure could be beneficial to IOMOU country’s skills development, she said.

“I’d like to encourage the government of South Africa to endeavour to train the port State control officers and to effectively take control of port State control activities in the region.

“We request that South Africa actually support… because we know that the country has more experience in the region…to undertake the training of port State control officers for countries in the region that are unable to do so themselves. In so doing, this will greatly assist in harmonising the training and activities in the region,” she said.

For Ms Nyamoita’s full interview (9.18 minutes) click on the video below:

Meanwhile, IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra presented his organisational report to the meeting on Monday. His presentation (about 20 minutes) is captured in the video below.

The IOMOU five-days meeting’s agenda this week is looking at a whole range of issues among which is an analysis of CIC on MARPOL Annex VI as well as development of guidelines for MARPOL Annex IV and Annex V for inclusion into the region’s port State control manual; port state inspections carried out by the maritime authorities, short term training programmes and a lot more other issues including the organisation’s online information management system.

This blog will carry more news information about some of these issues as and when such information is shared. Also lined up are two interviews with the IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra who is due to retire, as well as Captain Thobile Gqapu of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). 

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Angola finally in the fold for Africa agreement on sea search and rescue cooperation: SAMSA

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Angola’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, formally signing a Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement with South Africa in London during a meeting with South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula in July 2019

Pretoria: 03 August 2019

Angola’s formal ratification of a Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement (MSRA) with South Africa recently has finally brought into fruition a 12 years old effort to establish formal cooperation on sea search and rescue operations in Southern Africa among six countries considered vital to the success of the operations in the sub region.

Angola, represented by its ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, formally signed the agreement in London during a meeting with South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula while attending to an International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council gathering on 22 July.

Also attending was the Acting Chief Executive officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

The objectives of the Agreement are to ensure co-operation between signatories (South Africa, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola) by pulling together resource and infrastructure in improving maritime search and rescue in the region.

South Africa signed the Agreement in 2007 in Cape Town, and Angola was the last outstanding of the five other required signatories since then.

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Angola’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, shaking hands with South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula after Angola’s formal ratification of a Multilateral Search and Rescue cooperation agreement in London recently.

The sub regional agreement arrangement among these countries stemmed from a 2000 IMO Florence Conference on Search and Rescue and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System that sought to establish regional maritime SAR arrangements in Africa and invited all African coastal States to agree to the establishment of sub-regional RCCs.

The Africa region would be arranged into five sub regional areas with Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centres (MRCCs).

At that conference, South Africa was identified as one of the five countries to host a regional Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) and in 2007, the IMO formally assigned South Africa’s MRCC in Cape Town under the control of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as the sub region’s centre with six sub centres cooperating on the basis of multilateral agreements located in the Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and now Angola. 

The Africa region’s other MRCCs with a total 26 sub-centres, are located in Mombasa (Kenya: 2006), Lagos (Nigeria: 2008), Monrovia (Liberia: 2009) and Buoznika (Morocco: 2011), covering  all African countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, from Morocco to Somalia, anti-clockwise, as well as the nearby Atlantic and Indian Ocean Island States.

According to the IMO, the centres are intended to work co-operatively to provide search and rescue coverage in what had previously been identified as one of the world’s oceans region suffering most from a lack of adequate SAR and GMDSS infrastructure.

The centres’ sharing of information would also play an important role in the fight against piracy, kidnapping and ransom demands on the high seas – something, which IMO and the whole maritime community, had pledged to tackle with renewed vigour over the past decade.

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Legislation the final cog needed to ready South Africa for new low sulphur ship fuel requirements

DSC_2166.JPGPretoria: 28 July 2019

South Africa will be ready to implement new global ships fuel regulations aimed at prevention of air pollution by ships at sea, but may have to pick up pace putting in place prerequisite legislation to legalise the process.

This was the general consensus view of more than 100 industry and government delegates to a purpose fit two day national consultative workshop in Cape Town this past week.

DSC_2100.JPGAmong those attending were representatives of various sub-sectors of the maritime transport industry, fuel producers and distributors, bunkering services providers, ship owners and shipping agents, cargo owners, academics, various government departments representatives including the Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fishing ministry, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transport, as well as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

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Dr John Calleya. Technical Officer: IMO Sub-division for Protection Measures Marine Environment Division.

Also attending was an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) senior official to provide guidance and insight into the global implementation of the new 0.50% sulphur limit in ships fuel come 1 January 2020.

The new regulations are in terms of the IMO’s MARPOL Convention (Annexture VI) whose goal, according to the IMO is to further reduce air pollution by ships through emission.

The revised regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships under the MARPOL (Annex VI) were adopted in October 2008 and ratified by more than 65 countries including South Africa.

In terms of this, all sizes of ships sailing on the world’s oceans will need to use fuel oil that meets the 0.50% limit from 1 January 2020. The 0.50% sulphur limit extends to carriage of bunker fuel with sulphur content of more than 0.50% for vessels not fitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGSC). The carriage ban will come into effect on 1 March 2020.

According to SAMSA, ships must operate using compliant fuels of 0.50% sulphur or less from 1 January 2020 unless they are provided with an approved ‘equivalent’ means of compliance.

In part preparation for the implementation of the new regulations, next January, SAMSA had issued two Marine Notices ( Marine Notice No. 8 of 2019 and Marine Notice No. 9 of 2019 ) to industry, and may yet issue another soon.

At the two day workshop in Cape Town on Wednesday and Thursday this past week, among  issues discussed by the delegates were matters concerning; the availability of fuel that meets the new requirements, the proper handling of ships coming into South African ports without the compliant fuel, the availability of facilities to test fuels in use by ships, the handling of vessels using non compliant fuel but fitted with sulphur reducing equipment. 

Delegates also explored the subject of the coming implementation of the new ship fuel requirements both in its environmental and economics perspectives. All agreed that from an environmental context, these were necessary measures, but with possible economic implications that were not all too rosy, at least in the short term.

Crucially, by the time they dispersed on Thursday afternoon the attendees were generally confident that all key role-players were well positioned and prepared to contribute to the success of the implementation of the regulations from the set launch date of 1 January 2019.

However, a key instrument to knead it all together would be a yet non existent but crucially important piece of legislation to legalise the implementation of the new regulations – a task that is the responsibility of the Department of Transport along with SAMSA.

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Mr Sipho Mbata. South Africa’s Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO. London.

This, all delegates were agreed, it needed to be expedited without further delay and South Africa’s Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO, Mr Sipho Mbata said he believed crafting the legislation would be achievable as it only required the Minister of Transport to facilitate the enactment process.

According to Mr Mbata (who also chatted quite extensively with this blog about the entire Marpol Convention and particularly the relevant annexture to the Cape Town workshop), the most viable approach to passage of the necessary legislation would be in the form of an annexture to already existing law, rather the a bill process that would take anything up to two years prior to enactment.

He expressed confidence that this would not present a problem as facilitation for passage of the necessary legislation only required the Minister of Transport.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting Chief Executive Officer: South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

Meanwhile, SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, described the gathering and consensus seeking two day workshop for the maritime transport sector in Cape Town as a crucial step towards an ensuring that all role-players were singing from the same hymn book.

For his full remarks, Click on video below.

IMO representatives, Dr John Calleya, a technical officer in IMO’s Protection Measures for Maritime Environment division described the workshop and level of discussions as highly positive towards ensuring that South Africa would be prepared by the implementation date.

He also expressed appreciation for the industry representation during the workshop. For his full remarks (1minute 45 seconds), Click on the video below:

Meanwhile, in the video below, Mr Mbata gives a full perspective of the endeavors behind the IMO Marpol Convention on the combating of pollution by ships and South Africa’s important role in ensuring its success. Click on the video below.

This news information may be updated with edited video clips of the workshop proceedings including contributions by the various role players, as well floor discussions. These will be uploaded as soon as available.

South Africa readies for IMO Marpol new ship fuel requirements effective January 2020

SAMSA to meet maritime transport stakeholders in an indaba in July 2019

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(File Photo)

Pretoria: 30 May 2019

South Africa will be ready to implement new global regulations governing the prevention of air pollution by ships at sea, in terms of the International Maritime organization (IMO) MARPOL Convention (Annexture VI), so says the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

In a statement on Thursday addressed to maritime sector and related stakeholders (Click on video) SAMSA; a State agency under the Department of Transport, responsible for among other things; the safety of life and property at sea, as well as prevention of pollution at sea by ships, said it was confident that South Africa would both be able to offer sailing ships the required new low sulphur fuel in terms of the Marpol Convention (Annex 6), as well as render such other services as necessary under the new regulations.

Revised regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships under the MARPOL (Annexture 6) were adopted in October 2008 and ratified by more than 65 countries including South Africa.

In terms of this, a ll sizes of ships sailing on the world’s oceans will need to use fuel oil that meets the 0.50% limit from 1 January 2020. The 0.50% sulphur limit extends to carriage of bunker fuel with sulphur content of more than 0.50% for vessels not fitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGSC). The carriage ban will come into effect on 1 March 2020..

According to SAMSA, ships must operate using compliant fuels of 0.50% sulphur or less from 1 January 2020 unless they are provided with an approved ‘equivalent’ means of compliance.

As part of its preparation for the coming into effect of the regulations next January, SAMSA has issued at least two Marine Notices ( Marine Notice No. 8 of 2019 and Marine Notice No. 9 of 2019 ) to industry, and is due to issue another in the next month or so.

SAMSA’s statement on Thursday followed the organization’s most recent meeting with the IMO Maritime Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) in London two weeks ago.

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South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tilayi said introduction of the MARPOL Convention regulation on low sulphur ships fuel scheduled for implementation from 01 January 2020 would go ahead as planned.

“It’s all systems go as far as that is concerned and it’s a big piece of legislation with far reaching consequences. What we now need to do as a country is to put in place the regulations necessary to effect the process from January 2020.”

As part of the preparation, Mr Tilayi said SAMSA would arrange a maritime transport sector meeting of directly affected stakeholders as well as government departments or agencies responsible for environmental and energy matters.

“The reason is that we still have a number of issues that remain a major challenge and which we collectively need to look into and come up with solutions for. Therefore we, as SAMSA, are proposing a gathering of all stakeholders in the second week of July 2019 or thereabouts, in which we will sit around the table and thrash these issues out,” he said.

Among the issues for sector discussion and resolution were matters relating to the proper handling of ships coming into South African ports without the compliant fuel, the availability of facilities to test fuels in use by ships, the handling of vessels using non compliant fuel but fitted with sulphur reducing equipment etcetera.

The proposed maritime transport sector indaba for July 2019, he said, would allow all interested and affected parties an opportunity to come up with solutions that would assist in the finalization of local regulations for the implementation of the IMO Marpol Convention on use of low sulphur fuels.

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South Africa to remain on IMO STCW Convention ‘White List’: SAMSA

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(File photo)

Pretoria: 24 May 2019

Widespread fears and concerns over South Africa possibly being delisted from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) STCW Convention’s ‘White List’ this year have been allayed after the IMO agreed to re-approach its listing process, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced on Friday.

According to SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the withdrawal of the threat occurred following to discussions between SAMSA, other Member States of the IMO and the organization during a meeting in London, a week ago.

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SAMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Mr Tilayi said: “Discussions on the matter between the parties concerned came to a conclusion that the drawing up of the list of countries for delisting from the STCW Convention ‘White List’ earlier this year did not follow due process.

“The IMO then agreed to withdraw the list of affected countries and to embark on a process that is fair and transparent over the next year or two. Therefore the list that was drawn up will no longer be presented to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee that is scheduled to sit in June.

‘That therefore, basically means that South Africa is no longer facing a threat of being delisted from the IMO STCW Convention White List.

“That notwithstanding, as we indicated earlier, South Africa remains on course to complete its compliance work during the period that we understood to be required. In fact, we will have completed the work by the end of 2019, way ahead of schedule as we have now begun to speed up the process, with assistance we have sought from the IMO,” said Mr Tilayi.

In a recorded message to SAMSA Stakeholders Mr Tilayi further expressed gratitude for the support the organization received as well as input some stakeholders made.

He says: “We also faced harsh criticism which in some cases was truly misplaced as, at no time did we not do what was needed. We had areas of disagreement with the IMO in terms of our submissions and which are still being working on. However, this by no means implied failure on our part to do what was required.

“Many of our stakeholders stood by us and supported us. For this we are grateful and wish to assure them that SAMSA will ensure that South Africa remains on the IMO STCW Convention White List,” said Mr Tilayi.

For a full briefing of SAMSA stakeholders on this and related matters, please click on the video below.

The talks in London a week ago came following to SAMSA publicly expressing deep concern about how the IMO approached the listing of countries, including South Africa, for possibly delisting.

As many as 80 other countries were included in the list drawn up and circulated in February this year.

SAMSA protested about how the issue was being handled.

For Mr Tilayi’s earlier statement on the matter posted on 2 May 2019, and in which he also outlined the process SAMSA would follow in the wake of the IMO STCW Convention White List development, click here:

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Possible delisting of South Africa from IMO’s STCW ‘Whitelist’ a major concern: SAMSA

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File Photo

Pretoria: 02 May 2019

The announced possible delisting of South Africa along with 80 or more other countries from the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) ‘Whitelist’ of countries compliant with the 1978 STCW Convention, as amended, is a matter of major concern, says the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

The agency was responding to an IMO Maritime Safety Committee’s circular to Member States stating the committee’s intention to remove all countries from its Whitelist that were not compliant with requirements of the 1978 STCW Convention as amended.

The IMO’s 1978 STCW Convention stipulates standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.

According to the IMO:  “The main purpose of the Convention is to promote safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment by establishing in common agreement international standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers.”

SAMSA Master LogoSAMSA is the country’s agency responsible for South Africa’s compliance with this and other conventions and similar instruments.

In February the IMO issued a circular expressing its intention to remove from its register all countries that were non complaint with the convention, along with a list reflecting that as many as 87 countries – including South Africa – would be affected.

The circular simply stated the intention but provided no set date for implementation of the action.

In a statement in Pretoria on Thursday, SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi confirmed that the agency was extremely concerned by the development announced by the IMO in February, as it had major implications for the country’s maritime sector.

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South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

However, he said; “even as we have a serious situation in our hands, and should never have found ourselves in this position, I am confident that we will act with speed and do so correctly to ensure that the intended action by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee is not finalized to South Africa’s disadvantage.”

The planned response action plan involves three broad activities; the securing of IMO assistance with compilation of the report required in terms of the convention, the hastening of a SAMSA process setting in place a relevant quality management system, and constant engagement with stakeholders.

In the video below, Mr Tilayi speaks at length about the entire saga but also about what SAMSA is already doing to prevent South Africa from being formally delisted possibly later in 2019.

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South Africa calls for a single oceans security group for Indian Ocean rim countries. SAMSA

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Delegates from 21 countries attending an International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop on the Djibouti Code of Conduct shipping safety and security instrument held in Durban from 12 to 14 November.

Current groups efforts aimed at strengthening shipping safety and security around Africa’s oceans area a welcome, due development in the fight against piracy and other crimes but risk being seriously undermined by a duplication of efforts , the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has warned.

 
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Mr Boetse Ramahlo, Executive Head: Legal and Regulations Unit at SAMSA

SAMSA’s concerns were shared with about 65 delegates attending the International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop of signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct in Durban this past week. 

According to Mr Boetse Ramahlo, an Executive Head for Legal and Regulations unit at SAMSA, South Africa through the agency’s representation – along with 11 other African countries on the Indian Ocean – is a member to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) while also a signatory to the IMO Djibouti Code of Code.

On assessment, he said, both groupings – with cross membership dominated by countries subscribing to both – offered safety and security programs and approaches with basic commonalities in their approach to crimes affecting shipping.

The situation, he said, not only carried the risk of possible wastage of highly limited financial, human and time resources of member countries, but also held the potential of raising and abating unnecessary competition. 

Mr Ramahlo confirmed that South Africa would soon be also signing the DCoC Jeddah Amendment following to conclusion of necessary consultations in the country. (see last video clip towards the bottom of the article)

“One of the most important principles in the Djibouti Code of Conduct (2009) and its Jeddah Amendment (2017) is the importance of involvement of international support as given the nature and complexity of piracy, no single country can amass the vast resources needed to wage a successful fight against crimes affecting shipping.

“The illegal activities we are out to combat are transnational, and for us to be able to fight them we need regional and international cooperation,” said Mr Ramahlo

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Delegates from 21 countries that are signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop from Monday to Wednesday (12-14 November 2018) in Durban

An absolutely crucial aspect of international support, he said, was that it needed firmly to be informed and driven by regional needs, and that the existence of non aligned groups in the same region yet with the same common goals and objectives would simply weaken such support.

He said IORA had recently established a safety and security unit with more similarities than differences to those goals and approaches envisaged and being pursuit by signatory countries to the DCoC and its Jeddah Amendment

“As South Africa, we are members of both. As functionaries of government, the question now asked by authorities is why is this situation prevailing where members states of these two groups work in isolation.

“We are hard pressed to explain why there is this duplication,” said Mr Ramahlo. To avert unnecessary complications that were likely to rise due to the situation, South Africa proposed that IORA and GCoC signatories should explore, as a matter of priority, the possibility of working far much closely together, he said. 

For Mr Ramahlo’s full presentation on the situation, Click on video below.

GCoC Jeddah Amendment Action Plan developed and adopted

Mr Ramahlo’s remarks came on Wednesday, the last of three full days of engagement and discussions among some 65 delegates a majority of whom were from the 21 signatories of the GCoC, and which activity both the IMO and South Africa as a host, described as having been highly fruitful.

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A break away session by delegates to the IMO DCoC three day workshop in Durban this week.

Key issues included an action plan for development and enhancement of information sharing centres to advance maritime domain awareness among both member countries as well as regional and international role players – this in the interest of strengthening safety and security of shipping around Africa and globally.

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Mr William Azuh. IMO Head of Africa Section of Technical Cooperation

Summing up the progress achieved, Mr William Azuh, IMO’s Head for Africa Section of Technical Cooperation, said both the turn-out of more delegates than anticipated, as well as the intense engagement of everyone contributed to development of an action plan to ensure and effective implementation of a programme for enhanced shared communication and greater marine domain awareness among affected parties.

Describing the action plan agreed upon as only the beginning of a process, Mr Azuh said the IMO held the view that the outcomes of the workshop could be adopted as a template for development of programs for application regional and possibly globally. He urged delegates to continue to share information even with those countries that were not represented.

“Spread the message that this is what we did in Durban, and that we can work together.” he told delegates in a closing address. Mr Williams further thanked both England and South Africa for the support given the event.

(This blog will provide a full outline of the Action Plan adopted at the Durban Workshop as provided in a separate exclusive full length interview with the IMO’s Mr Kirija Micheni

For Mr Azuh’s full remarks, Click on video below

South Africa takes pride in hosting IMO workshop

Meanwhile, South Africa through the Department of Transport and its agency, SAMSA expressed appreciation for the selection of the country as a host of the GCoC Jeddah Amendment Workshop. 

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Captain Ravi Naicker. Senior Manager, Navigation, Security and Environment. SAMSA

Speaking on Wednesday, Captain Ravi Naicker, Senior Manager for Navigation, Security and Environment at SAMSA, contextualized the staging of the workshop in South Africa and explained its perspective as a crucial development in the strengthening of safety and security of shipping along Africa’s oceans.

South Africa for its location at the tip of continent and surrounded by three oceans, the Atlantic to the west, the Southern and Indian Oceans to the south and east respectively, provides a particularly important international shipping passage whose safety and security can’t be taken for granted.

For his full remarks Click on video below.

Equally impressed by the staging of the event in South Africa, thereby providing opportunity to several of the country’s internal security agencies, was the South African Polices Services (SAPS) 

SAPS’s Captain Mandla Mokwana said as part of the border security agencies of the country, the police’s participation at the workshop allowed it opportunity to gain useful information on marine domain safety and security activities taking place in other countries. His full remarks here: 

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BREAKING BREAD: (From Left) Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General, Maritime Directorate, Department of Transport with Mr William Azuh, head of IMO’s Africa Technical Cooperation Unit during  a workshop delegates’ dinner in Durban on Tuesday evening

Meanwhile, in earlier remarks expressed during a welcome dinner for the delegates on Tuesday night at the Durban’s uShaka Marine complex, Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General, Maritime Directorate at the Department of Transport said South Africa took pride in its contribution to both regional and global maritime sector development endeavors linked to its active membership of the IMO.

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The Cargo Bridge – an old vessel whose interior has been converted into a quaint restaurant and which hosted the 65+ IMO Djibouti Code of Conduct Three Day Workshop delegates in Durban from Monday to Wednesday, 12-14 November 2018.

He said the IMO DCoC Workshop in Durban was a precursor to among other events, South Africa’s hosting of the 2020 IMO International World Maritime Parallel event, expected to be attended by as many as 230 countries.

“We would like to see you all return to South Africa for that event,” he said. 

Also speaking on behalf of SAMSA, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operations Officer, said: “It is always a great pleasure for SAMSA to have people that you partner with as a country in the various areas that we interact in. It is important that as a country (South Africa) and  other countries, that we plan such that our economies are always protected.”

Greater awareness coupled with effective communication and sharing of information was vital in that process, he said.

For Mr Ntuli and Mr Tilayi’s full remarks Click Here.

In the video below, Mr Ramahlo who also expressed a word of gratitude both to the IMO and delegates to the conference, formally confirmed South Africa’s readiness to also become a signatory to the DCoC Jeddah Amendment 2017.

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Waning piracy threat in African oceans no reason for relaxation: IMO Durban workshop hears

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Delegates from 25 countries that are signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop beginning Monday and ending on Wednesday (12-14 November 2018) in Durban

Durban: 13 November 2018

The virtual elimination of piracy along eastern oceans of the African continent over the last few years – thanks to a concerted highly collaborative international effort – is no reason for the continent to relax.

Other serious crimes involving and affecting international shipping and impacting global trade remain a constant threat and present danger, delegates to a three day International Maritime Organization (IMO) workshop in Durban, South Africa heard on Monday.

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Mr William Azuh. IMO Head, Africa Section. Technical Cooperation Division in Durban on Monday

Mr William Azuh, head of the Africa section of the IMO’s technical cooperation division, told dozens of delegates from countries many of which are signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) that while collaborating actions to deter piracy had largely been successful: “Make no mistake about this, the pirates are not done yet.”

Mr Azuh was speaking during the first of a scheduled three day IMO workshop for countries in Africa that are members of the IMO’s anti-piracy Djibouti Code of Conduct and its revised version, the ‘Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017’.

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), hosts of the workshop along with the Department of Transport (DoT), the DCoC is a regional counter piracy programme with the main objective of repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Aden and West Indian Ocean regions.

However, the revised version – the ‘Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017’ – has since expanded the scope of the DCoC to include all acts of criminality in the maritime environment, including illicit maritime activities such as human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

According to the IMO, the Jeddah Amendment “recognizes the important role of the “blue economy” including shipping, seafaring, fisheries and tourism in supporting sustainable economic growth, food security, employment, prosperity and stability.

DSC_4792.JPG“But it expresses deep concern about crimes of piracy, armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activity, including fisheries crime, in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Such acts present grave dangers to the safety and security of persons and ships at sea and to the protection of the marine environment.

Crucially, says the IMO; “The Jeddah Amendment calls on the signatory States to cooperate to the fullest possible extent to repress transnational organized crime in the maritime domain, maritime terrorism, illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and other illegal activities at sea”.

“This will include information sharing; interdicting ships and/or aircraft suspected of engaging in such crimes; ensuring that any persons committing or intending to commit such illicit activity are apprehended and prosecuted; and facilitating proper care, treatment, and repatriation for seafarers, fishermen, other shipboard personnel and passengers involved as victims.”

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MAPPING GLOBAL MARINE DOMAIN AWARENESS: (From Left: Mr Kirija Micheni, Mr Jon Huggins (both IMO DCoC Workshop moderators) and Mr Sobantu Tilayi, COO of SAMSA listening attentively during discussions at the IMO DCOC three day workshop that began on Monday in Durban

The three day workshop in Durban that began Monday morning is the first of its kind for the Africa region aimed at finding agreement and drawing up action plans for establishment of national and regional maritime information sharing centres for improved maritime domain awareness.

Maritime domain awareness (MDA) is described as constituting three aspects; situational awareness, threat awareness and response awareness. For effectiveness to the benefit of a wider community, MDA needs to exist at national (country), regional (continental) and international level.

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Mr Lavani Said (Left) of the Comores and Mr Abebe Tefera Tebeje of Ethiopia (Right front) at the IMO DCoC Three Day Workshop in Durban.

In Durban on Monday, Mr Azuh said the vastness of the global maritime domain was such that no region or country in Africa or elsewhere was totally safe and crucially, no region of the world could act alone in efforts to combat crimes at sea that impact global shipping and trade.

“Without the understanding and effective management of the maritime sphere, we all labour in vain,” he said, adding that maintaining the success achieved to date against piracy in a sustainable manner, was dependent on meticulous implementation of IMO guidance and best management practices.

For Mr Azuh’s full remarks click on video  below.

Mr Azuh’s remarks were shared by Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operations Officer of SAMSA who on behalf of the South African government under the auspices of the Department of Transport, welcomed the delegates to the country.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left), COO of SAMSA with Mr William Azuh, IMO Head, Africa Section. Technical Cooperation Division at the IMO DCoC Workshop  over three days in Durban that began on Monday

Mr Tilayi said it was significant that South Africa was hosting the event relevant to its role in both regional and international maritime matters and precisely those include ensuring safety of people and property at sea.

He said ever evolving advances in communication technology were among tools that needed to brought into the fray towards strengthening safety and security of shipping and South Africa has quite a contribution to make in this regard. He enumerated the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth as among research institutions in the country that were making a significant contribution.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks, Click on the video below:

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Mr Timothy Walker. Senior Researcher, Peace Operations and Peacebuilding at the Institute of Security Studies. Pretoria.

The issue of maritime sector shipping safety and security was a concern not only of countries with direct access to the oceans, according to Mr Timothy Walker, senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria.

Speaking on “Making Safer Seas for Africa” said piracy at sea and armed robbery of ships had a direct and immediate impact on global trade which involved all countries of the world.

But also, he said, inland waters across countries in Africa were not excluded as there vast areas of these waters that were used for shipping and therefore remained attractive to criminals.

For the reason, cooperation to improve security of the marine domain was of equal economic benefit to everyone hence the need for awareness needed to be fully inclusive of interested and affected parties.

Mr Walker’s full remarks:

Meanwhile, after a full first day of deliberations, workshop coordinator, Mr Jon Huggins expressed satisfaction with both the intensity and focus of the deliberations, expressing hope that by day three on Wednesday, there would be clarity on a plan of action forward.

For Mr Huggins’ full remarks, click on the video below.

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